Why I Did It, A Terrorist Manifesto (part 14)

[This is a fiction I co-authored with Louise Norlie. I will be publishing the story in serial installments, every Monday for the next little while. Stay tuned or look back.]

I saw it on television, where else?

It was the first time I had witnessed the effect and aftershock of one of my attacks. I had driven a few miles away from where it happened, to a seedy country western bar. I sat down and looked up. I surprised myself by how calm I was. My hands, though grimy and covered in sweat, did not shake.

The people in ambulances. The people with ash on their faces. Blood.

My heart took wings, and I watched.

It is futile to say that they had no idea what happened to them. They never would. This was life. It had been part of their lives before. It would always be part of their lives, with me or without me.

A reporter stood in front of the scene. Feigning shock and disbelief. Then a commercial break.

Others in the bar started to chatter amongst themselves, muttering lukewarm oaths about what they would do if they ever “got hold of that psycho bastard.” I felt like confessing right there, just to see if they were more than just ghosts, if they would put their flesh at risk to live their words. It was not worth it though – I had work to do.

After several minutes of commercial breaks, the news telecast went on to another story.

What gives advertisers the right to attack our psyches, with methodical, intentional, and frequently successful tactics based on fear, the aim of which is no less terrible than anything I have ever done?

Or, better yet: Whom?

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